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Ex-Bush ticketmate Lezar dies in Texas

Jan. 6, 2004 at 12:58 PM

DALLAS, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Harold J. "Tex" Lezar Jr., a Dallas lawyer who ran for lieutenant governor in 1994 on the GOP ticket with George W. Bush, died Monday of a heart attack. He was 55.

"Tex was one of the most talented lawyers of our generation," former Whitewater special prosecutor and longtime friend Ken Starr told The Dallas Morning News. "He combined a consummate legal skill and a superb feel for public policy issues."

A former Nixon White House speechwriter, Lezar held several senior posts in the Reagan Justice Department under Attorney General William French Smith.

Lezar moved to Austin in 1974 where he earned a law degree from the University of Texas. He worked on Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign and later in the U.S. attorney general's office. In 1994, Texas Republicans chose him as the their nominee against veteran Democrat Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock at the same time they selected Bush to run for governor against Democrat Ann Richards. Running on separate ballot lines, Bush won while Bullock defeated Lezar.

Lezar is survived by his wife, Merrie Spaeth, head of Spaeth Communications in Dallas and a regular contributor of "Outside Views" to United Press International. He is also survived by two sons, Beau of College Station and Philip of Dallas; and a daughter, Maverick Lezar of Dallas.

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